Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that emotions are bad since in reality they are critically important, no matter if they are positive or negative emotions. What I am saying is that certain situations call for us to be less emotional.
One of those times is when we are advocating with the school for our child’s needs. Do you think you could be stone faced and show no emotions when your child’s teacher calls you – for, what seems like, the millionth time – about what your child did wrong at school? I didn’t think so… I couldn’t do that either. What I had to do was find a balance between being stoic and being overly emotional.
This balance is what I call detachment.
I found that when I was emotional, the school staff only saw the emotions, and that put a fog around the words I was using to advocate. The school staff then poured on empathy for my emotions instead of focusing on what my child needed.
When I was stoic, though, the school staff seemed more able to provide excuses or reasons why my requests could not be met.
So, what is this middle balance, this detachment, I’m talking about? I found it more successful if I talked to the school as if I was talking about the child of a close friend instead of my own child. How would I approach this conversation? I wouldn’t be as emotionally vested but I would want the best for that child. My passion would show through but I’d be able to look at the situation more objectively and see the bigger picture. This was the answer!
My colleague, Vicki, and I have developed a one-page guide to help you have successful conversations with your child’s teacher. We want to help you become allies with the teacher and develop a common goal to help your child flourish at school. You can download it here!